November 27, 2011

Cheap, In-Home Therapy......For All Ages!

There are days around here when I'm just not sure I'm going to make it to the end of the day in one piece. I watch three different clocks and my watch waiting for bedtime. And it's not just because of the kids. Sometimes, I just want to sit in bed, read a book, and be quiet. 

During those in-between hours of the day, the kids fight a bit more, which causes me to stress a bit more. Something I learned a few years ago that (almost) always helps curb the insanity is something I want you all to try. Play Doh. I know it sounds crazy, and I know some of you have Play Doh fears like I do... all the little pieces that fall to the floor then harden in the carpet, or even the mixing of colors.  But I've learned(and I know you can too!) to ignore those little pieces, and just focus on what is right in front of you. 

No matter what color you choose, just take a few minutes to smoosh it, ball it up, or create something adorable. Tell the kids to make something but keep it a surprise....that usually keeps them quiet while working on their mystery project. While those few seconds of quiet surround you, just continue to work with the Play Doh. Clear your mind, and just focus on what you are doing. It may sound silly, but you'll see. Before you know it, a wave of calm comes over you, and whatever is going on in life fades away. 

Even if it's only for a short period of time before/after dinner, it's still a peaceful time in the house. For my boys it can be upwards of an hour of sharing and giggling at their masterpieces. For me, it's time to clear my head, remember what's important in life, and make some pretty neat things.

Oh, and for those of you that really are Play Doh junkies, don't forget to buy your special guy some yummy cologne for Christmas :)

November 5, 2011

My Life in Tangled Yarn.

Last night, I was just about finished with a blanket I've been crocheting for quite some time now. I was |this close| and suddenly I hit a snag. A tangled web of yarn that brought me to a screeching hault...argh!!! I could have just cut the yarn at the knot, and started again, but I  refused and continued to try to untangle it.  As I sat and attempted to make my way through all the little loops and twists, it made me start thinking about my life.

It's no secret that my life has been full of twists and turns the last two years. Many bumps, many complicated knots, many tears. But I saw my end goal. I knew where I was heading, just had to off-road a bit to get there. Slowly but surely, I've found the other end of my yarn of life. I see now that all of the knots I had to undo were very worth the stress and aggravation.

The nice part that ties together this little blog post is my guy. He not only helped me untangle my yarn to finish the blanket this morning, but he also helped me find the end of my metaphoric yarn in life, and is the best end product I could ever have.

November 4, 2011

Thank You! No, No.......THANK ME!!

What the frig is going on with kids these days? I'm not old. I don't really mean the little ones. I mean the high schoolers, college kids, fresh out of school kids. Is no one taught manners anymore?

I'm tired of going to stores, saying thank you to a cashier, and getting no response. Or the other day one actually replied with a closed mouth 'mm-hmm'. REALLY? I'm buying things in YOUR store, paying YOUR salary, saying thank you for YOUR goods, and you can't even answer me? Not to mention the fact that they should be initiating the 'thank you' process. 

Or how about the other night, while I was giving out Halloween candy? 90% of the kids don't say thank you. Suddenly, half way through, I realized I was saying thank you to them! It's such a habit for me, I don't even know when I'm saying it anymore! (sidebar: I also refused to give the kids candy until they said 'trick or treat'. Hey, thems the breaks.)

One thing I've worked on since my boys were in diapers was their manners. Ask anyone that knows us, they will tell you I have two of the most polite boys any age range, including adults. Please. Thank You. May I? Sounds simple right? I've gone above and beyond those with the boys, and they know to shake someone's hand when they meet them, give compliments, and open doors for others. 

It would be easy to just say I did that as a responsible mom, but it's more important to note that I did it as a responsible human being. The simple act of thanking someone, for something they did for you or gave you, has a snowball effect. Try it next time you are working in a retail setting. Or someone holds the door for you. Or helps you. You get the point. Modeling is the best way to teach our children :)

November 1, 2011

Misconception Perception.

I've just gotta tell you about what I saw today, and I'm sure you will all nod your heads and know the type.

A woman in the store, at the checkout. Dressed pretty nice, fancy-ass purse, expensive glasses and shoes, diamonds on both hands. Obviously doing just fine. But then, when it comes time to pay for her groceries, she pulls out her food stamps card. W.T.F. Seriously? You obviously have enough money for the finer things in life, but not enough to feed yourself and/or your family? Is this what our society has become?

I'm sure you've encountered this before. I saw it today. However, I didn't see it from the next spot in the checkout line. I saw it from the inside out. That woman, the woman that obviously is doing just fine and dares to take advantage of money that others need, that's me.

A few months ago I just could not make ends meet. I'm a single mom. I had a part-time job at a school, but summer was upon us. I had no savings, no backup plan, no new job on the horizon. My pride gets the best of me sometimes, but this time was different. I needed help, and didn't know what else to do. I mentioned it to a friend, and she told me to try to get assistance. I was instantly horrified and embarrassed, but did it anyway. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing I'd be able to feed my children. But even though I accepted it, I still hid it. I tried using it in stores where I knew no one. Kept my head down out of shame. Sad with the thought that my life had put me here, in my Uggs, getting free cereal and milk.

Fast forward a few months, and I now have a full-time job. No need for assistance anymore. I am a tax paying moneymaker, and used the funds when I needed them, just as people should. After this experience, there is one great thing I'm able to walk away with. The ability to not judge others.

A few years ago I would have been the first one to bitch and complain about 'that girl' in the checkout line.  But sometimes you just fall, and must ask for help. Taking care of my kids is my number one priority. I'm still learning that I need help to do that. My acceptance of help is a little bit slow to unfold, but I'm well on my way.

As much as I didn't want to share this part of my life with anyone, if I can make even one person aware and a little less quick to judge, I've done what I set out to do. :)

October 26, 2011

Bad Blogger, Good Cause.

Bad, bad blogger. Life has gotten in the way of my ramblings! I'm only stopping here today to ask for your help my blogger friends. Help me help a friend. A friend in need. A friend that would help anyone and everyone if she had the ability. Below is some information about her son Chris, and their situation. To the left is the badge for my Etsy store, which I recently started up again. Everything I crochet will go in my store, and every penny of the sales will go directly to helping Chris beat cancer once and for all.  As a parent, as a mom, put yourself in her shoes for a few seconds and imagine what you would do, or want from friends and neighbors. Thanks in advance :)

Chris is my best friend Margaret's son. In the past couple of weeks, he has been rediagnosed with the osteosarcoma that he has battled for the past year.

In addition to all of the get well wishes and prayers that everyone is sending Chris' way, we are accepting donations for Chris and his family to help get them thru this difficult time. If you would like to help them out, any donation no matte...r how small are appreciated. Gas cards are also a huge help for all of the back and forth to the doctor and hospital appointments - BP and Sunoco are the gas stations in their area.

Donations can be mailed directly to:
Margaret Sheehy
3198 SW Sunset Trace Circle
Palm City, FL 34990-8109

September 25, 2011

Eat. Pray. Love.

Nope....not talking about the book. Talking about what I witnessesed tonight. There was plenty of eating: salad, spaghetti, desserts. There was lots of praying: prayers full of hope. Love: so much love. One large room, filled with a community of friends, family, neighbors. So many people with the common goal of helping someone who has touched so many lives.

I have lived in this little town for almost 12 years now, and still have friends in NY that ask why I still live here. Nights like tonight remind me why. The sense of community here is amazing. The outreach of humanity is humbling. The generosity of others is inspiring. All too often we forget our responsibility to help others. Give back when we can. I'd give so much more if I could. If I was ever in need of a lending hand, it's nice to think there are plenty of kind people here that extend a hand without thinking twice.

And the best part....the bestest part to my son. My beautiful 8 year old son. Asking if he could give tonight. If he could give all the allowance he has saved up, to help a woman he truly adores. <3

That, my city friends, is why I still live here.

September 12, 2011

BC Day 30: A picture of yourself this day and 5 good things that happened since you started the challenge

A picture of myself on this day is not what you will be getting. It's 6am, I'm in pjs, so it ain't happening.

Five good things that have happened since I started :

1. I started my new full-time job, which is bringing much relief to me, my boys, and my bills.

2. My older son transitioned successfully to a new school, which has had me in a panic for months.

3. Halloween candy has hit the shelves. Hello mini Kit-Kats.

4. Not that I didn't realize if before, but I realize even more now how fortunate I am to have found someone great to walk along this crazy life path with.

5.4 is enough for me, I don't like to over do! 

It's nice to be done with this '30' day challenge, back to regularly scheduled blogging!

September 9, 2011

BC Day 29: 3 wishes.

Can I wish for more wishes? I'm guessing probably not. 

1. I wish for my boys to live a happy, healthy life. A fun, laughter filled life. I think I've done a good job setting them up for that.

2. I wish to be around long enough to complete my bucket list.

3. I wish for this blog challenge to end.

Hee hee. Yell at me next time I say I want to do one of these 30 day thingies.

BC Day 28: Something that stresses you out.

Ahhhhahhahha!!!! So much stress, can't even really talk about....blood pressure rises as I do. Dumb drivers suck.

September 5, 2011

BC Day 27: The city you live in.

Ha. Not a city. A small town. A town so small, I have to drive a half an hour just to get anything I need other than food or gas. But, most of you that live in more populated areas, can't say you are blessed with views like this. 'Nuff said.

September 4, 2011

BC Day 26: Your dream wedding.

*Sigh*. I have a million things I can but won't say about this topic. I already had a wedding a while back. I did it the way I thought it should be done at the time. It wasn't about the gifts, it wasn't about the food, the music, the crazy sides of each family. It was just about the bride and groom. Understated, easy. Beautiful church, simple dress, quick ceremony. Then it was right to a plane (a missed plane, but that's a story for another day), and a week on the beach. No reception, no hectic planning for everyone else to enjoy our special day.

Fast forward a ton of years, and that wedding is in my past life. I don't regret the way I did it, but I do regret two simple pieces. A dance and a cake. At the time they would have been parts of a celebration that didn't exist, and I had convinced myself I didn't need them. Of all girls, I love cake more than many things in life, and I love to dance, so I'm just not sure how that happened. At this point in time though, it wouldn't matter anyway. Those pictures and cake toppers would be buried in a box far away, and the station would be changed every time the song came on the radio.

I continually say I will not get married again. I still feel I don't need a piece of paper to have a happy life with someone(but a big ring doesn't hurt lol). However, I do find myself daydreaming about a wedding, but I think it's partially because I never truly had one. So, for daydreaming and blogging purposes only, if I had my dream wedding I would:

Fly everyone I love to a beach with us and get married barefoot. In a bohemian white dress with a flower in my curly hair. My boys and my guy in khaki shorts and short sleeved white shirts. My sisters in the color of their choice, but casual dresses. Tiffany blue color throughout. Cannoli cake. A dance floor on the beach, with dancing all night under the stars. A great band, delicious food. Awesome pictures taken throughout the day a must. That is all.

BC Day25: Put your iPod on shuffle, and give the first 10 songs.

I did a post like this LONG AGO, but I know I've added/deleted many songs since. So here we go!

1. Rolling in the Deep, Adele
2. Nothing, The Script
3. Mississippi Queen, Mountain
4. Goodbye Stranger, Supertramp
5. You & Me, Dave Matthews Band
6. Stuck on You, Sugarland
7. Forget You (unedited version), Cee Lo Green
8. Pour Some Sugar on Me, Def Leppard
9. I Do, Colbie Caillat
10. I Wish, Skee-Lo

How's that for an eclectic list? lol.

August 26, 2011

BC Day 24: Something you've learned.

In the words of one of the wisest book characters I've ever been fond of...
"There comes a time in every one's life when we must decide between what is right and what is easy, and what is easy is not always right." ~ Albus Dumbledore

Sure, I've learned tons throughout my life, both in and out of school. But I feel more and more these days, that you really don't learn anything until you are at least 30. You think you are learning, or sometimes already know everything, but looking back on my 20s, I can say pretty confidently that I didn't know shit about life. Career wise I knew how to do my job well(don't worry my all grown up students that I know read this lol), but as far as the meat and potatoes content of life goes, I was clueless. 

Now, as I've jump-started my life this past year, I've come to find out that it's the hard decisions that truly make a difference in life. The ones that you know will make a huge impact, in both positive and negative ways. To have the bravery to not only make those decisions, but see them through is an amazing quality that I really believe comes with age. Wisdom. Courage.

For a long time I wasn't sure I was capable of making big decisions, and would constantly back-burner them. But now, I follow as Dumbledore says, and even though my choices might not be easy ones, they may in the long one be just what I need.

August 20, 2011

BC Day 22: What's in your purse?

The question should ask, 'what's NOT in your purse?' I feel like I'm on my way to the Let's Make a Deal game show, at the end where Monty Hall says, "I'll give you $100 if you have a hard boiled egg in your purse." Or whatever he might choose.

When you're a new mom, you have diaper bag overload. C'mon ladies, you remember. You had everything under the sun in there, and if I remember correctly, I had a list in one of my baby books of what you should have in there! Diapers, wipes, food, drink, the staples. But then you had money, medicine, bandaids, clothes, toys, etc. I giggle to myself when I see younger moms with the bags now, knowing you never use most of the 'just in case' stuff you pack!

Why am I talking about diaper bags? Well, I'm going to let you in on a secret here. I, Mama, have not always been a handbag nutjob. Before kids and being required to go out with some sort of bag, I actually NEVER carried a purse. Gasp! Ack! True stuff. I had back pockets or just a wallet, so why bother with a whole bag? Nowadays though, well, we all know I have a few too many bags living in my closet. The hard part of having so many, is the stuff inside.

I try to always have the staples. Wallet, chapstick, gum. Kids add pens, bandaids, and mini games. Glasses, cell phone, more gum. That's about it actually! It might not sound like too  much, and it wouldn't be if my wallet wasn't so darn heavy! The less I choose to carry, the less I have to transfer every few days when I change bags :) I've been using a big silver Cole Haan hobo bag for almost the whole summer though, go me! The silver goes with almost everything!

August 18, 2011

BC Day 20: Nicknames you have.

Allison. That's me. I love my name. I love the spelling and the way it sounds. Allison Maria was a good choice on my parents' part.

Growing up my friends called me Al. They still do. I don't mind. My dad was part of the reason I was named Allison, as he is Al. And that's part of the reason my boy was named Alex, and we call him Al(or usually A-Rod). I digress. Al was a fine nickname for the tomboy that I was. And it just stuck. My sister used to call me Alvin, but eventually it shortened to Al. In college I have a few friends that called me 'short stack', 'short stuff' or again Al. All fine by me.

Nowadays I am still Al, but also Mama. That's fine too.

There's one nickname that is always associated with my name, Ali. Do not call me Ali. I cringe if someone calls me Ali. I just don't like it. Only one exception to that rule, my mom. She named me, so she can call me anything she wants. And it's cute coming from my cute mom. And that's all she ever calls me. And I'm ok with that. 

But if you ever try to call me Ali, I won't even respond. Just sayin'.

BC Day 19: Something you miss.

I don't really miss stuff. It's just stuff, and can always be replaced(well, except my sister's stuffed animal Chipper, may he rest in peace). 

I do however, miss people. Today, I miss my kids. A ton. Since they were born, I've never ever been away from them for this long. It's a funny thing. I can pull my hair out and complain any day of the week with them home, but after a day or two of them gone, I can't stand not complaining. I know it's a great thing for moms to get a break every now and then, because as Dr. Phil has told us, if we don't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of them. But a week is a long time. L....o....n....g.... :(

August 17, 2011

August 16, 2011

BC Day 17: Something you're looking forward to.

Right now, 6:30am sitting in a hotel room, I'm looking forward to going home tomorrow night. But that's just an every day item on my mind, just wanting to sleep in my own bed. Sleep, ha.

But something I'm looking forward to is taking my boys on their first real vacation. They've never seen the ocean. Haven't been on a plane yet. Beg me to go to Florida. I keep putting them off, knowing the younger they are, the more difficult a trip with one mama and two boys will be. I'm thinking next summer will be the time. Finally. I can't promise there will be a plane involved, but I'll be ready to take them on our first destination vacation. That part of their baby books is still blank. I was saving it for the right time :)

August 14, 2011

BC Day 16: My dream house.

Whew, some of these are too big and/or vague for a short blog post. I can start by telling you I love my house. After 8 years since we built it, I now call it a home. I am continually on a quest to fix, tweak, update, and neaten every room, and it is all (slowly) coming together. The outside of the house has transformed beautifully this summer, and by next year at this time, I'm pretty sure all projects will be done!

That all being said, my dream house is not a cape cod style home in a rural development. I instantly think land. Acreage. At least 5 acres. No, 10. And I want the house in the middle, towards the back of the property. Gravel driveway from the main road, paved for the 100 feet or so closest to the house. No shortage of beautiful trees and shrubs around the property. A pond or two large enough for fishing and paddle boats.

The home itself should be a sprawling ranch. When I was younger, I'd say I wanted a big colonial. But as I get older wiser, I realize the importance of looking ahead. Colonials have a ton of stairs. Ugh. A ranch gives that option of living in the home long term, everything you need on one floor of the house. It should be pacific blue, black shutters, black front door. I need a HUGE kitchen, for amazing cooking and wonderful family time. I'd like a family room, living room, a handful of bathrooms, craft room, workshop, office, 4-5 bedrooms. Basement can be finished for a game room and a bar. Wrap around porch, hot tub and/or pool, flat yard for endless running and playing. 

Um, that covers it I think. I don't want a mansion. Some people tend to forget they have to clean what they own as well! I just want comfort. And beauty. And a place to enjoy family. Easy enough, right?

August 12, 2011

Day 15: A moment you've felt satisfied with your life.

Feeling a sense of accomplishment to me, is the same as feeling satisfied. So today, the moment that first came to my mind when I was truly satisfied, is when I completed grad school.

I decided to go to grad school right after I got out of college. Many of my friends decided to take a break before starting their Master's, but thanks to my forceful helpful dad, I made the decision to start right away. I wound up getting a full scholarship for the whole program at a school close to home, and moved back into my pretty pink bedroom at my parents' house. 

But while I worked on my Master's, I worked on campus, then got my first(awesome) teaching job, and prepared to get married. A busy girl to say the least, but I truly enjoyed that time in my life. I got married in April of that year, and completed my Master's in May.

Looking back and knowing where I am in life now, I'm not sure I'd be able to juggle everything as well as I did back then. I'm glad I did it in that year's time after college and got it done with. After receiving my diploma in the mail, then finishing up my first year of teaching, I had a well-deserved, relaxing summer. I was satisfied with my job well done. :)

August 11, 2011

Day 14: A picture of yourself last year. How have you changed?

This is a quick, easy post. My hair is WAY longer now, I've gained WAY too much weight, and I'm a WAY smarter, strong woman. 'Nuff said.

BC Day 13: Goals.

This is a tough one for me. I feel like most of the goals I've set for myself over the years have been reached. I did the college/grad school thing, I have a career doing what I love, I have two awesome kids, and a beautiful home to call my own. So for right now, I'd like to just continue doing what I'm doing, be more successful at my job, and continue to raise kind, strong-willed boys.

I talk to my students all the time about short and long term goals. Even though some of them are 17 or 18 years old, they just can't deal with long term goals. It's too much pressure. It's too far away. It seems unrealistic. So we focus on the short term, more accessible goals. The ones that they can reach and succeed at. Sounds like an easy plan for some of us grown-ups too!

I just sat here and tried to think for a few minutes of what other goals I'd like to have or set for myself. I can't really think of any. Perhaps that's a good thing, a sign that I'm finally content? Or does it say that I don't want to keep striving for more? That would be that furthest thing from the truth. I think my problem is that I just can't think far enough ahead these days to even have a goal.

Today I'll just have the goal of finishing my quiet coffee and having a lovely day with the boys. It's a start, right?

August 9, 2011

BC Day 12: Something you don't leave the house without.

Here's a few I choose from on a daily basis. There's plenty more, but this is what I could grab quick enough for a group photo:

August 8, 2011

What I did on my summer vacation.

I just have to derail from my 30 day blogging to bring you all this article I read yesterday. I love Mitch Albom, and respect his words so much. I enjoyed this article knowing this is what I've been trying to do this summer, and I hope others can appreciate it and see how important summer really is :)

The Joys of Summer by Mitch Albom

Go ahead, kids. Lie in the grass. Study the clouds. Daydream. Be lazy. You have our permission.

I feel sorry for today’s kids. Summer comes, they’re finally free from school—and bang! Band camp. Science seminars. Internships.

Instead of downtime, it’s get-up-and-go time. Chorus travel, archaeological digs, dance tours. My nephew from Michigan flew to Georgetown University for a summer medical program, replete with cadavers. He was 16.

He’s hardly alone. Some kids fill their summers with so many prep courses that they’re ready to graduate from college by the time they get there. It’s all very admirable, but here’s a question: Why so busy?

I can make the case for doing nothing all summer. That’s right. Nothing. I know it won’t advance your kids’ career objectives or improve their SAT scores.

But it might be good for them.

When I think of my childhood summers, I remember lying in the grass, hands behind my head, feeling the blades dig into my fingers. I studied the clouds. I joked with my friends. None of us wore watches.

Weekdays were indistinguishable from weekends. I’d wake up when my eyes opened, read comic books over bowls of -cereal, go outside with my baseball glove (just in case a game broke out), and find something to do—oil my bike, make things in the garage. Was it lazy? By today’s standards, maybe. But there was a freedom that today’s kids don’t enjoy. We sat on curbs. We daydreamed. Think about the word. “Daydream.” It means your imagination wanders while your eyes are open.

What kid has time for that today? Preteens are on travel soccer teams. They fly to faraway cities. Play tournaments. Isn’t that what pro players do?

Likewise, camps chew up the summer months, but they’re no longer just softball and swimming. There are fashion camps. Circus camps. Science camps. Achievement is emphasized.

Even kids at home find their free time under scrutiny. Some children are made to adhere to playdates as if keeping a doctor’s appointment. (By the way, the closest I ever came to a “playdate” was when my mother opened the door on summer mornings and said, “Go. Don’t come back until supper.”)

We need to lighten it up. Sometimes doing nothing is doing something. Sure, camp can be fun, and travel ball is exciting, but if we cram in activities from the last day of school to the first, we’re ignoring an important fact: The way kids work during the academic year—honestly, you’d think homework was a full-time job—a mental break may be needed. These are young minds, young bodies. Replenishing the juices by kicking back is not a bad idea. And if not in childhood, then when?

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “If we don’t enroll our kids in an activity, all they’ll do is text. Or watch TV (and text) or talk on the phone (and text).”

Well, you could prevent that. You could take away the cell phone, the iPod, the Nintendo. Then see if you can get your kid to do four things in a day:

1. Have a face-to-face conversation with a friend.

2. Read something.

3. Build something.

4. Get wet. A pool. A hose. A sprinkler. Whatever.

That’s really enough. Before you can blink, it’s the school year again, where every day is jammed with sports, AP classes, student government, and field trips.

That’s fine for September. But if September is no different from June, July, and August, then we’re doing something wrong. And our kids are missing something precious.

BC Day 11: A tv show you're addicted to.

Yes, you caught me. I intentionally skipped a day. But with good reason! Yesterday(Sunday) was such a relaxing, lovely day, I didn't even want to touch the computer. And, I really didn't have enough content to make a worth reading post for the topic anyway.

But tv? I can write a book about it! There's so much I watch, but right now I am madly in love with Nurse Jackie. My sister watched it and loved it, then bought my mom the dvd sets. I borrowed them, and they just sat on my dresser collecting dust for the longest time. One night I had nothing left on tivo, so I popped in disc one of season one. OH MY GOSH, I was hooked from the first episode.

It's a half hour show, which for someone jumpy and impatient like me is perfect. Short, sweet, wild, and to the point. Each episode keeps me on my toes, and makes me look forward to the next. I finished all three seasons in a three day span, and now cannot wait to see what is in store for Jackie in season four!!

If you haven't seen it, or don't have Showtime, it's available on dvd and on plenty of sites online(yes, I'm aware that's not legal, shhh)that have it. I don't usually HIGHLY recommend a show, but I certainly think Nurse Jackie is worth your time!

August 6, 2011

BC Day 9: A habit you wish you didn't have.

I eat too much ice cream. I bite my cuticles. Lord know I snap my gum. But I think the worse habit I have right now is my lack of sleep. Insomnia.

Some would be quick to say, 'that's not a habit!'. But when I wasn't sure what to choose as my bad habit for today, I started looking around the cyber world for a list of bad habits. When I saw insomnia listed, I knew for sure it was the one for me!

Articles upon articles go on to say how it (in some cases) is a triggered response to an event or something stressful in life. I can't pinpoint it that exact, but my year has been one for the books for sure. They then tell that when you believe you are a poor sleeper, you continue to sleep poorly. So just like any habit, a little training and positive affirmation, and you'll be sleeping like a baby!

Surely I don't believe it's that easy, or I'd be catching mad Zs right now. Either way, if it's considered a habit, it's definitely the worst one I have right now.

August 5, 2011

BC Day 8: A place you've traveled to.

Sadly, Mama hasn't gone too many places. One tropical trip, and the rest only on the east coast. Sad, right?

I actually don't even have somewhere that's worth all the oooh's and ahhh's of a descriptive trip. I get bored quickly on vacation, and have a hard time just soaking in the surroundings. Well, I should say I used to, meaning when I actually had time to vacation, sans children of course. These days perhaps I would appreciate and enjoy a trip a bit more, knowing how much I could use one!

Maybe I should say where I'd like to go instead. I'd like to go to a specific tropical island. I'd like to go to Greece. The Grand Canyon. Gotta see Mount Rushmore. I'd like to take a cruise to Alaska. Maybe when I hit Powerball tomorrow...

August 4, 2011

BC Day 7: Your favorite movie.

Can I just start with saying holy cannoli, how can it be the 7th day already? Time is going way too fast!

My favorite movie. It's like picking a favorite does one choose just one? There are so many I can watch over and over (Grease, Walk the Line, Moulin Rouge). I think half of my friends will tell you my favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz. The other half will tell you it's definitely Goodfellas. They are both huge contenders, no doubt, but after the millionth view, they've each lost a bit of their luster. Then I was going to say You've Got Mail, because I truly, truly love it. But I'm going with one a bit off the charts. You may not have heard of it or seen it, but hopefully you have.

David Duchovny plays a grieving widower trying out his dating skills, and he of course falls for Minnie Driver. The emotion throughout the movie is heartfelt, I love the soundtrack, and I love the cast. Minnie's dad is played by Carroll O'Connor, and he and his buddies remind me of my grandpa. 

I have nothing negative to say about this movie. Sure, it's a bit corny to some, too lovey and silly, but I love it. I cry every time I watch it, I smile every time I watch it, and I can still watch it all the way through without being bored and fast forwarding. All of those thoughts and more, put Return to Me at the top of my list. For today at least.

August 3, 2011

BC Day 6: A picture of you as a baby.

I'm not shy about saying I was darn cute as a baby. Bright-eyed, smiley, and as I got a bit older, phenomenal hair. It's hard to choose just one cutey shot of me, but I choose this one for a few reasons. Of course I look awesome in that strawberry dress and tights. It's taken in my bedroom when I was little, and I think my mom still has those curtains. And most importantly, I'm standing there smiling with one of the bestest, kindest, strongest ladies I've ever had the privilege to know: my grandma!

August 2, 2011

BC Day 5: A song to match your mood today.

I find this to be a difficult post. I live for music, and think it's crazy for me to have to pick just one song. I'd consider today's mood optimistic(yes, you read correctly!). A few Cake songs, Chris Cornell, and Weezer were top contenders. But I've chosen a song a bit off the beaten path. One that has that soulful 60s sound I love so much, a colorful video, and I just love some of the lyrics. Paloma Faith, Upside Down:

♫ Angels watching over me with smiles upon their face/ Cause I have made it through this far in an unforgiving place/ It feels sometimes this hill's too steep for a girl like me to climb/ But I must knock those thoughts right down I'll do it in my own time.♫

There's plenty of days for me that feel like I'm slowly walking uphill. All. Day. Long. Every day brings it's new challenges for me, but I'm learning to be ok with it, and face it all head on. And if I'm not living the way someone else wants me or expects me to live, well that's just tough crap. I see things differently than others. And as Paloma Faith says, ♫"I'm not a fool, I'm just upside down."♫

August 1, 2011

BC Day 4: Your parents or siblings.

Well, I've already told you how awesome my mom is. But how much do you know about my sisters?

I have two sisters, both older than me. Not a ton older, but older enough that we almost lived completely different and separate lives until I was in college. Now that we are all grown up, we are inseparable. Over the last few years our family has been tested tremendously, and together we've come through everything life has thrown at us.

They are so different from each other and me in so many ways. Yet despite all of our differences, we share a bond that so many siblings don't share, but wish they did. I can pick up the phone any time of day, and have an ear to listen. I may live 2 hours away, but there's no distance between us. We laugh a ton when we are together, and know how to balance each others' lives. I'm lucky and thankful to have two big sisters that love me so much.
Me, my sisters, and our mama:)

July 31, 2011

BC Day 3: Your first love.

Where to begin. It was a love that knew no limits. A love that grew over the years, and has never truly faded away. When I needed him, he was there. When I needed to vent, he was there. When I needed a hug, he was there. We went everywhere together, and he even vacationed with my family. 

I'm not even exactly sure when he first came to me, but he's been around for as long as I can remember. I remember when I left home to go to college, I wanted him to come with me, but just knew it was time to spread my wings and fly solo. 

But he's still with me today. I see him and smile, fondly thinking about all the fun we've had over the years. I'll love him forever. He's Potbelly Bear.

July 30, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 2: Meaning Behind Your Blog Name

Well, it's a pretty straightforward name: Life in the Slow Lane.

I've always felt like living in New York, my life moved so quickly. High school was over in the blink of an eye, then college went waaay too fast. What I wouldn't give to be back up at Oneonta having fun. Then before I knew it, it was grad school, full time job, and marriage. Where were the years going?

But thankfully, the move to PA ten years ago brought life to a lovely slowed-down pace. Not just because everyone around me does things slower, drives slower, etc., but I just feel more at peace here. More relaxed. Calmer(I didn't say calm, I said calmER). I'm pretty sure(almost definitely sure) I'd never be able to go back to a hurried NY life. Yes, having two wild boys at times has me wishing days go by quickly, but my dad has always taught me not to wish it away.

So here I am. PoconosMama, enjoying My Life in the Slow Lane.

July 28, 2011

Anyone else up for a new challenge?

Ok peeps, it's time once again for a 30 day blog challenge! This one is actually more about blogging than the 30 Day Photo Challenge. It's the same idea, one topic per day (or as close to it as possible, I know a few of the photo days I would have to double up on!). For me it's a way to stay consistent with my blogging, get some ideas of topics, since my brain is like a piece of swiss cheese these days, and keep busy while I never sleep!

So here is the list below. If you'd like to join in, copy, paste, and get writing! I am going to cheat a tad though, for Day 1, it's reaaaallly similar to Day 1 of the Photo Challenge, so click HERE if you really need to reread what Mama is all about. I'm considering my typing right now Day 1 :)

Day 1: Introduce, recent picture of yourself, 15 interesting facts
Day 2: Meaning behind your blog name
Day 3: Your first love
Day 4: Your parents or siblings
Day 5: A song to match your mood today
Day 6: A picture of you as a baby
Day 7: Favorite movie
Day 8: A place you've traveled to
Day 9: A habit you wish you didn't have
Day 10: Something you're afraid of
Day 11: A tv show you're addicted to
Day 12: Something you don't leave the house without
Day 13: Goals
Day 14: A picture of you last year - how have you changed?
Day 15: A moment you've felt satisfied with your life
Day 16: Dream house
Day 17: Something you're looking forward to
Day 18: Favorite Place to Eat
Day 19: Something you miss
Day 20: Nicknames you have
Day 21: Something you could never get tired of doing
Day 22: What's in your purse?
Day 23: Favorite board game
Day 24: Something you've learned
Day 25: Put your iPod on shuffle, first 10 songs
Day 26: Your Dream Wedding
Day 27: The city you live in
Day 28: Something that stresses you out
Day 29: 3 Wishes
Day 30: a picture of yourself this day and 5 good things that happened
since you started the challenge

July 24, 2011

Get in line!

I have been asked more times than I can count over the years, "but how did you know your son has autism?" It's a loaded question, and has a long list of answers. Some are the expected answers from the time
of his diagnosis: he doesn't talk, doesn't look anyone in the eye, flaps his hands. But over time you continue to notice other characteristics. One for me was the way he lines up objects. The first time I thought it was a typical behavior, and cute. Then after a few I realized it was more than that.

As different as it may be, I always found it to be one of the more interesting behaviors he has and never understood it. But I immediately decided that I would take pictures whenever I could, and always thought about creating a visual diary. Either way, I thought I'd share some of my more favorite pictures. Neat, huh?

July 16, 2011

The Colors of My Life.

I don't know why it popped into my head the other day, but I realized that my favorite color recently changed. I'm sure there's some people that have the same favorite color throughout their life. But mine has changed a few times since I was little. Such a silly thing to even give any thought to, but I guess when you have young kids that color and ask you what your favorite crayon is, it reminds you.

I took a minute to actually search around to see what the colors of my life have meant. It's funny, the descriptions of "What your favorite color says about you" kinda sorta fit me throughout the years. Here's a little breakdown:

1. When I was little, my favorite color was PINK. HOT PINK
This color embodies the gentler qualities of Red, symbolizing love and affection
without passion. Pink desires protection, special treatment and a sheltered life.
Pink people require affection and like to feel loved and secure.

2. As I got closer to high school, and through college, my favorite color was PURPLE.
Purples are highly individual, fastidious, witty and sensitive, with a strong desire
to be unique and different. Temperamental, expansive and artistic, a Purple
person may become aloof and sarcastic when misunderstood.

3. When I got a little older I was looking for a bit more color in my life, one to make me happy. My favorite color was TURQUOISE.
Complex, imaginative and original, Turquoise people drive themselves hard
and may be in a state of turmoil under their outwardly cool exterior.

4. Not sure why, but right now, my favorite color is NAVY BLUE.
Soft, soothing, compassionate and caring. Patient, persevering, conscientious,
sensitive and self-controlled, Blues like to be admired for their steady character
and wisdom. They are faithful, but are often worriers.

So, my colors of life show that I have gone from a sarcastic, free-spirit looking for love, to a compassionate worrier. Like I said, a silly thing to think about, but somehow a crayon box speaks the truth.

July 12, 2011

I'm just fine.

Over the last year and a half I have learned more than I ever imagined I could. Just when I feel stuck and cannot do something, I realize that some things are not an option and just must be done. The only difference now being divorced, is that I have to(or at least should) do them myself. Here’s a few ideas that come to mind of what I’ve come to learn, love, and appreciate during this period of time.

  • Having flip flops on all the time makes killing bugs a cinch.
  • Mowing the lawn might seem like a big chore, but really it’s quiet time when you can’t hear the kids fighting.
  • Extra sleep is essential.
  • How to cook a portion for one.
  • Having a messy house once in a while is ok, raising boys is messy sometimes.
  • I am a good mother.
  • How to really PLAY with my boys.
  • Doing all chores myself is way easier than having to ask someone for help multiple times.
  • My boys come first. All day. Every day.
  • A pretty pink toolbox can solve a lot of household problems.
  • How to laugh until my stomach hurts and tears are running down my face. I forgot how to do that.
  • Holidays are important to the kids, so they need to be important to me again.
  • Communication is key.
  • Some things just aren’t worth fighting over. Pick and choose your battles.
  • With that, teach the boys to pick and choose their battles with each other.
  • I enjoy not sharing the tv remote.
  • Moms need time-outs too.

And above all else, put one foot in front of the other. I still have my hard days, my sad days, my stressful days. But taking a step each day, whether big or small, will lead me to the happy life the boys and I deserve.

July 11, 2011

To bunk or not to bunk? That is the question.....

My boys are now 6 and 8 years old. With these ages comes a healthy dose of attitude, back talk, and lack of respect. I think being a single mom makes that an even trickier situation for me. Not only do they not act kindly towards me, but towards each other. Even as I'm typing this, they are upstairs fighting about one playing music and the other one not wanting to hear it. Pick and choose your battles boys!

Over the last few weeks I've been contemplating putting them in one bedroom. My older one has a bedroom that is bigger than mine, and even has 2 closets. I could make the younger's room a playroom, so that would mean no crowding in the big room as well. So win/win as far as any space issues go.

But of course it's not all about aesthetics(even though yay I'd get to decorate a play room!). I'm hoping to force encourage a sense of respect between the brothers.  Maybe, just maybe they can learn to cooperate? Play nicely? Agree to disagree? 

I'm almost certain this change is going to happen here this week, whether they like the idea or not. But I need to know....What kind of experience do you have with putting your kids in one room? Or did you share a room with siblings? I'd love to hear about it, the good and the bad!

July 8, 2011

Miss Me Yet?

Geez, even I miss me being here, so you just must miss me! After a MONTH of having no internet, it looks like my troubles are finally cleared up! Hopefully I will have a nice, consistent connection for the rest of my days.

It's very difficult to live without internet that long. Every time I say, 'o, I'll check' it usually means I'm going to hop on Google. Not cool. And of course living in the sticks means I can't even pull 3G in at my house!!! But hopefully, I'm here to stay!

I have a ton to say and write about(and read on your blogs!!!), but right now I just wanted to say hi! I'm just getting ready to head out the door to NY for the weekend. Nothing better than seeing my Mama :)

Catch you all in a few days!!

June 2, 2011

My Favorite Auction Find...

So, we went to this interesting auction over the weekend. Apparently it's held once a month, and it's 'silent'. No screaming and yipping bids, simply people with tiny mini golf pencils scrambling back and forth and grumbling about outbidding each other. Different. Strange. And awesome.

We came home with some fun trinkets. A gumball machine, a drum set for my boy's birthday, some figurines, and this. This neat box that caught my eye during the last few minutes of the auction. People were fighting over some jewelry crap, so of course I had to get close enough to see what was going on. But as I did, I saw this sad little box. The tag said "Old Carnival Toy" and there was only one bid placed for $3. I've seen them before, not sure where, but I like them. So I bid $5. And won. Here's an crummy video I took so you can see.

You simply turn the box over a few times and set it down. The sand inside creates the motion you see. It sits on my work desk, and I mindlessly play with it during the day.  I think it might be pretty old,  and I'm sure it's worth more than the $5 I paid for it. Definitely a good find from a fun day!

May 31, 2011

Everyday Etiquette.

I had what we will call a little 'incident' this morning. I told a woman something, and her reaction was hands cupped to mouth, gasps, and teary pity eyes. All I could think was 'man, she could have at least pretended to react better.' It made me think about something a bit unrelated, but I still thought it would make for a good post!

A while back I wrote about 'Annoying People', and this post today has the same underlying tone. Etiquette is something that has been lost on many people. Sometimes you hear the word 'etiquette' and think table manners or something like that, but there's more to it. It's a social norm of behavior that's unwritten. Some people may need some etiquette help. It's not that they are rude(sometimes), it's just that they have no consideration. Or they don't think. Or they don't know better. Whatever the case may be, here's to those who could try a bit harder.

#1. If you're coming in or out of a store, the rule is stay to the right. If I'm coming out, and starting to push on the right door, don't stand there waiting to come in after I 'open the door for you'. There's a handle on that door to your right, grab and use it lazy.

#2. If the line is long and I'm in it with you, don't find that a reason to talk to me. If I don't know you, I don't want to talk to you. (this one might not be etiquette, but still bugs me lol)

#3. Turning? Thinking of turning? Waiting for a parking space? For the love of god, use your blinker. 

#4. If there's a pregnant woman within reach, that does NOT give you free reign to touch, rub, and ask a million questions. Especially the touch part.

#5. Don't scream at your kid in public. Or you, lady I saw the other day, don't pull her hair. I don't want to hear it, and I definitely don't want to have to step in, but I will.

#6. If you pull into a 'handicapped' parking spot, and stick your little sign up on your rearview mirror, your ass best get out of that car looking sickly. Otherwise you are wasting a perfectly good spot for someone that truly needs it. 

#7. Back to driving...the courtesy wave goes a long way...

#8. Guys, if you see a gal struggling with something...carrying bags, lifting a box, HELP HER. Even if you don't plan on getting her number, it sure would be a sweet gesture.

#9. Don't spit on the ground where I or my children may walk. Gross.

#10. My favorite. SAY THANK YOU. Especially if I purchase something at your store. "Thank you! Have a great day!" Not really complicated words, but they go a long way. And don't forget, my buying at your store keeps your job going. So it wouldn't be the worst thing you said all day ;)

I have more but I'll save them for another grumbly day!

May 24, 2011

My Award Goes To......

In an attempt to find something different to do in BlogLand, I'm going to make up my own version of something I saw a while back. I'm going to give out awards. Today is my first award 'ceremony', and I'd like to bestow the Stylish Blogger Award to my friend Allison over at Lipgloss Lounge. Allison, please accept my silly award, tell the readers a thing or two about your style do/don'ts, and pass it along to another fashionable friend.

Allison is a gal after my own heart. Not only is she a fashionista that keeps up on today's trends, but she does it without overpaying for beauty. A combination I love and admire. Shoes, bags, manicures, hair accessories, and cute skirts are just some of the many things you can learn about from Allison. 

So head on over to find out what your personal style is lacking!

May 15, 2011

'Turn' the day around for some giggles!

My mind is ALWAYS going. Probably why I don't sleep all that much. But lately it's usually just thinking of things to do with the boys. Fun, inexpensive things that will create some great memories for them. So today, Backwards Day was born.

I sometimes make chocolate chip pancakes for dinner since I know they both like them. With a side of bacon. Simple and filling, score. So as I thought of making that for tonight, I realized breakfast would be at dinner time, so why not dinner at breakfast time? They came downstairs and the first thing I asked was, "what kind of ice cream would you like? Whipped cream and sprinkles too?" They looked at me like I really lost my mind this time.

But once I explained my plan they were right there with me. They had heaping bowls of ice cream with whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles as we waited for the pizza to cook. Then they had two slices each and a glass of soda. It's now 8:30am and they are very full. I'm sure the rest of the day won't be as eventful as the totally silly breakfast, but I did what I set out to do. Hear them laugh, see them have fun, and make a memory, and perhaps even a new tradition.

Next weekend I think we will picnic on the porch.